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Squak Mountain Stone, A Natural Beauty

Squak Mountain Stone

Squak Mountain Stone is an environmentally friendly slab and tile product company based in Washington State.  Their slabs are a unique offering on the green market because of their natural appearance, somewhat similar to limestone or soapstone.  Squak is being used in a wide variety of applications including countertops, tabletops, tiling, hearths, signs, and stairways.  It is made of 49% post-industrial materials, which include crushed glass, type f coal-fly ash, and 2.5 % post-consumer mixed waste paper, in addition to low carbon cement and iron oxide pigments, making it a great option for LEED credits.

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San Francisco's Glassy Green 555 Mission Street (S2)

Night Rendering Rendering

Floor-to-ceiling glass panels, accented with glass and metal fins … this is 555 Mission Street.  The base of the building will have a public plaza with a so called "garden of light"– an organic, living space with fiber-optic light wands.  The 33-floor building is will be state-of-the-art and with all those windows, it’ll need to filter the natural light without burning up the interior in the summer.  Slated for completion in the third quarter of 2008, the building will have dual-panel, insulated glazing windows with low-e coating.  In total, 555 Mission Street will have approximately 550,000 rentable square feet and what seems to be incredible views of the city and the bay — I really like this first image below.  Word is, the building will be LEED certified, although I haven’t been able to verify that or the level of planned certification.  See updates below. 

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Sycamore House, LEED Platinum in Pacific Palisades

Sycamore House

Yesterday, Kovac Architects announced the groundbreaking of Sycamore House, a modern ridge top residence in the Pacific Palisades designed to achieve a Platinum level rating under the USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program.  The 3,400 sf home will serve as both a laboratory of learning in sustainable design and the home of Michael Kovac, principal with Kovac Architects.  With construction already in progress (you can view a webcam on their website), the home should be complete in the latter part of 2008. 

By all means, take some time to wander through the Sycamore House online web site, it’s quite informational.  This home will feature a 23-foot tall thermal wall to regulate air temperature and guide warm air to clerestory windows; a building integrated photovoltaic system and green roof to insulate the home and reduce the heat island effect; and a geothermal system for supplemental cooling.  On the inside, all the materials will be sustainably harvested, rapidly renewable, or previously recycled.  Plus, there will be the usual water-efficient fixtures, energy-saving LED lights and appliances, and low-VOC paints and varnishes.  Although still only in rendering stage, it will be exciting to see the Sycamore House become a reality.  Personally, I like the ability to congregate on the living roof and show off the solar panels.  That’s a nice touch. 

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300 North LaSalle, Exposing LEED Benefits (S2)

Feature I received an email from a reader recently about the progress of 300 North LaSalle, which is a 60-story office tower under construction at the northwest corner of North LaSalle Street and the Chicago River in Chicago.  It received LEED-CS Gold pre-certification and should be ready for occupation near January 2009.  Back in 2005, developer Hines signed Kirkland & Ellis to occupy a mind-numbing 24 floors.  (too many lawyers in Chicago?)  The rest of the building, comprising about 400,000 sf will be available for lease.  And unlike many of the wicked shapes we see in some green buildings, the pragmatic, modern 25,000 rsf floor plates are good for tenants that like to use what they’re paying for.  The building was designed by Pickard Chilton, an architectural firm that is becoming increasingly known for their green office and professional buildings.  I’ve included some interesting background and images/renderings below. 

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McDonald’s re Recent LEED Criticism

McDonald's LEED

You’ve probably heard that Fast Company wrote a recent article about some of the potential problems with the LEED system.  Well, Bob Langert, Vice President of CSR at McDonald’s, just wrote a small response to Fast Company Magazine in an article titled “LEED = Progress for the Environment.”  Starting with the quote, “Perfection is the enemy of good,” Langert continued:

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Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it.  First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility.  Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building.  Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature.  Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc.  This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour.  Seriously, great work. 

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